Moving to a new office can be thrilling. More space! Different scenery! Brand new neighbors! But before you get wrapped up in redecorating, be sure you’ve attended to the many details that must be handled correctly in order to make this move a smooth one.
There are a lot of moving parts that go into moving an office, and many of them take significant advance planning. Here are a few of the biggest issues that apply to nearly all businesses when they’re relocating. Keep in mind, this list isn’t close to a complete rundown of all you have to think about, but it’s a good place to start:
- Telephone and internet lines. It usually takes about 45 days to get a new line installed – after the paperwork is signed. That means your business needs to start arranging for service at the new location at least three or four months before you’ll need to be up and running. There may be some downtime, which is something you’ll want to avoid to the extent possible. You can buy internet directly from your provider or use an independent agent to assist. We recommend using an agent, as these specialists are usually more responsive. They’ll also be able to help you minimize downtime and set reasonable expectations for the process. Try googling the phrase “move telco lines” as you begin your search for someone to help you handle this.
- Telephone system vendor. It may seem natural to simply stick with the provider you’ve been using, but this isn’t always the best idea, or even possible in some instances. Start researching well before the planned move date to get an idea of your options and search out the best combination of price and service for your needs. It’ll save a lot of time and hassle to switch vendors when you’re moving anyway, rather than switching after you’re already established in your new digs but not getting what you want and need.
- IT servers and desktop computers. Getting your hardware ready for action in your new office will most likely require the help of two different teams: IT professionals and general movers. Coordinating the timing between the teams without causing your business major disruption may be tricky, so plan well ahead of time to get everything lined up perfectly. The IT team will generally handle important things like servers and firewalls, while the same movers you use to schlep over the furniture can take the desktops.
- Movers. Remember all those desks, chairs, shelves, file cabinets, decorative items, refrigerators and everything else that makes your office functional and homey? There are a whole lot more of them than you think. That fact will become painfully clear once you begin to take a hard look at the reality of packing it all up and moving it. You’ll want to allow plenty of time to research moving companies with a great reputation, select the right one and arrange a walk-through to get a firm price. Keep in mind that they’re busy too, which means you’ll need to schedule your move with them well in advance of the big day.
- Change of address forms. You’re going to need to notify all of your clients, vendors, suppliers and others who care about your whereabouts of the impending move. Be sure to share change of address information in multiple forms: hard copies to hand out and mail as well as email notifications and messages you include on your website. These often fall through the cracks until either your company or someone you do business with runs into trouble. Don’t forget to change your address with the post office, and do plan to be patient. It can take a while for everyone to get the new information into their systems and working memory.
A move is both thrilling and frustrating. Careful planning and scheduling can help reduce the inevitable difficulties as you embark on your exciting next step.